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Service learning opportunities

UCT offers a wide range of opportunities for visiting students to volunteer their services in the disadvantaged communities in Cape Town. For many, this is a highlight of the SSA experience.



South Africa has inherited a fractured, complex social and political system where resources are not adequate to meet the needs of the people. The legacy of apartheid is still with us; through community service, we can try to redress some of the injustices of the past by contributing to the future of communities in need.

A range of volunteer options are available:

  • SHAWCO started as a UCT initiative in 1943 and has grown into one of the country’s largest student volunteer organisations. Today it is divided into two main service sectors: education and health. During orientiation, students are introduced to the work of SHAWCO and the various community service sites. Volunteers are enlisted throughout orientation. A student may choose to volunteer for as many or as few hours per week as fits with the academic programme selected.
  • The UCT Global Citizenship: Leading for Social Justice Programme (GCP) is a full curriculum programme which aims to provide students with an opportunity to engage critically with contemporary global debates and to reflect on issues of citizenship, social justice and community engagement. The programme consists of three short courses and one creditbearing course – Social Infrastructures – which is housed within the faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment. The programme includes a voluntary community service element.
  • Ubunye UCT is dedicated to providing educational advancement opportunities for leadership and life-skills development, and mentorship and guidance to motivated high school learners in Cape Town. It is an umbrella organisation for a number of different education-related projects operating in township high schools in Cape Town.